Pre-productionThe pre-production phase of making a game such as Gears of War is the same as the pre-production of making any game. This is simply the planning stage and what takes placebefore anything is actually created.The pre-production stage consists of things such as planning concept development and theinitial design documents. The initial aim of the concept development is to create a clear andeasy understanding document which describes the tasks, schedules and estimates for thedevelopment team.During the pre-production stage the developers will looks at what the main selling points ofthe game will be, this is called the pitch. They will also look at concept, this is everythingfrom games genre, game play description, features, setting, story, target audience,hardware platforms, estimated schedule, marketing analysis, team requirements, and riskanalysis.At the end of the pre-production stage the developers will have game design document thiscontains the major game play elements in detail and sometimes sketches of what someelements of the game will look like.
ProductionThe production of a game is when the main stage of development takes place. This meansthe artistic design of the game assets will be made, as well as the sound engineer will workon the music and sound elements for the game, the level designers create the individuallevels and the writers will start writing for the characters and the cut scenes in the game.One of the main parts of the production is level creation. Usually the first level takes thelongest to create as this is when the designers are experimenting with differenttools, however as the designers progress into the later levels the designs they made for theearlier levels may not look as good and therefore may be altered or even scrappedcompletely.The audio production often separates the sound into three categories: soundeffects, music, and voice-over. This is when the game has background sounds such as bangsand crashes, music is often music in one of the cut scenes or on the radio in the game andvoice over is the voice acting which goes into the characters.Testing is a very important in the production of a game. As soon as any levels in the game areplayable testers will start and test the quality and assurance of the game. This is similar to thealpha stage. This is when the game is playable and contains most of the majorfeatures, during alpha small changes will be made to improve the game.
Code freeze is when there are no more codes being added to the game and the bugs in thegame start getting corrected. This is similar to the beta stage. This is when there is a fullcomplete version of the game and only bugs will get fixed. However unlike the code freezestage non of the bugs which get through to the beta stage can stop the game from beingshippable and no changes to the main features in the game get altered.After these stages there is a code release. This is when all the bugs in the game are fixedand the game is ready to be reviewed by the console manufacturer.Post-productionOnce the game is released there is a lot of maintenance, this consists of fixing bugs whichwere not originally found in the game and creating patches for the game which can fix this.The marketing of the game is very similar to that of films or music. The publisher marketingteam will look at the best places to advertise the game and promote it. This can be throughvarious things such as magazines and TV advertisements.Demos of the game will be released, this could be a simple and short advert or could be along game play demo depending on the target audience. Games may also be announced atevents such as E3.